A Money Coach in Canada

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Sept 2011’s Money 101 post roundup:

What were you taught about money?

How to bust a poverty mindset

Quick chat with John Chow on culturally-shaped attitudes towards money

Cover it Live twitter chat w/ Krystal on how she got out of student debt so fast, and Marcy on common money messes she sees.

Get New Parents (if yours didn’t give you a healthy approach to money)

Saving. Should you save if you’re in debt? and other such questions.

Debt Elimination: Part 1 Part 2

Disappointment Recovery Plan

And of course all the goodness that was my Online Launch Party!

Disappointed with how things turned out?

Yeah, life doesn’t usually turn out how we think it will. And often the way it turns out doesn’t compare favourably to the life we anticipated. Maybe we don’t feel grown up enough. Maybe we don’t have the RRSPs saved we thought we should by now. Maybe we quietly wonder why others have the Audi, the Yaletown condo, the Fluevogs, the weeks in Italy that we don’t.

Regarding money. Disappointments about money. A recovery plan:

1. You are not alone. Know that. Whatever aches, shames, frustrates — you are not alone in being disappointed about your finances. Take comfort in this. Nearly every one of my clients – physicians, realtors, politicians among them – quietly wonder the same thing (admittedly on a different scale). We all face disappointments great and small.

2. It’s probably not your fault. Or not most of it. You and I and our money are shaped by our birth year, by government policy, by what is happening in Greece, and yes, to some extent our will to take control of our finances as well. So cut yourself some slack.

3. Acknowledge that comparing your situation to others is a fool’s errand. Who knows the full story? They may have had other priorities. They may have received an inheritance. And yeah, possibly they have made more financially astute choices to date, but whatever. You are where you are; they are where they are. Let it be.

4. Remind yourself of what’s good in your life. Then take this 30 second exercise to blow your mind.

5. It’s true, you know, that today is the first day of the rest of your life. If you are convinced you can do better for yourself – however you define better – shake off the disappointment or guilt or failures of yesterday and move forward. Move forward.

update: for a recap of all Sept Money 101 posts, click here
Photo Credit: Opaline Fracture Design

PART 1

Yes, that Krystal may have done it but dammit, she’s the exception that proves the rule:   If you are hell-bent on getting rid of your debt NOW, you will fail.  Or most of you will.

I feel your stress level shoot up.  Hang in there.

First, some (begrudging) exceptions:

  • If you have a healthy income and a small-ish debt ($500 – $2000), go hard.
  • If you are young or youthful, unhindered by kids, dogs, violin lessons, boyfriends,  with quantum energy to work multiple jobs go crazy.
  • If Frugaliciously You live well and truly below your means, have been for a while, and you’re good like that, go for it too.

But for the rest of you:  those of you who have hit some kind of panicky pissy pain point that makes you think This feels awful and I want this debt of my back NOW, for those of you, listen closely.

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If you are serious about eliminating your debt, it requires a long-haul strategy.   A long-haul, day after day after day after day after day after tomorrow and the day after that and the day after and the day after and the DAY AFTER THAT strategy.

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So.  What can you do to get started on a serious journey, not a loop-de-loop in debt | workworkworkwork | making good progress | DAMN NOW I’M BACK IN DEBT  journey?

Here are three starters:

  1. Decide on three small, really small, changes that you can make in your lifestyle that you won’t feel.  Think of things like a subscription for a magazine you don’t read anymore; eliminating your land-line and using your cel and skype instead;  switching to public transit to save on parking fees at work (but only if you can really handle it).   That money you saved?  That specific amount (yes, get your calculator and get specific) now goes to your debt every month.
  2. Move your debt to a lower interest debt. Credit cards can be moved to a lower interest card; lower interest card balances can be moved to lines of credit; lines of credit can sometimes be rolled into your mortgage if you have one.  The money you will save in interest? That specific amount (what.  you put your calculator away?  silly you) now goes to your debt every month.
  3. Snowball it.  The money saved in #1 and #2 goes to your smallest debt.  Once that is paid off, combine the money saved in #1 and #2 plus whatever you had been paying originally for that smallest debt and start applying that to the next smallest debt.

Come back Saturday for PART 2.

oh, and if you’re burning to eliminate your debt and take control of your money right now, time for you (shameless plug alert) to take my program.

update: for a recap of all Sept Money 101 posts, click here

Photo Credit:  Firepile

Did your parents set you up with a savings account and ensure a portion of whatever money you received went into that account?

Did they ask you about your kid-sized goals (wishes) and let you know how much you’d need to save up for it, and encourage you in it?

Are you doing the same for your own children?

I cannot emphasize enough how being someone with savings changes you.  And ripples out positively into all aspects of your financial life.

In debt?  Be someone with savings, who saves.

Doing just fine? Be someone with savings, who saves.

Having a rough time financially? Be someone with savings, who saves.

Unemployed? Be someone with savings, who saves.

Have savings but keep plundering it?  Keep saving anyway until one day it clicks and works as you intended.

On a fixed income?  Be someone with savings, who saves.

Single mom?  Be someone with savings, who saves.

And make sure your kids know you are someone with savings, who saves.

Here’s why:

  • Having savings and being a saver assures you deep down there may be times of real struggle but you are never truly broke.
  • Having savings and being a saver embodies the truth that while you may owe others, you are never owned by them.
  • Having savings and being a saver is a freedom gesture from all the messaging intended to lure you into buying stuff.
  • Having savings and being a saver has a mysterious way of multiplying itself.
  • And in addition to that, from time to time it may save your ass.
  • More likely, it will allow you to achieve a financial goal that means something to you.

If you are ready to become a saver, and want some additional strategies and support, my $64 online program will help.  In fact, I’m going to be a bit aggressive and say if you are earning over $30K with no dependants, or over $50K with dependants, yet are not saving anything (living paycheque to paycheque) you *need* to check out my program.

If you’re Canadian, and choose to save with ING (which I recommend) quote this “orange key” 14641937S1 and if you contribute $100 we’ll each get $13 as a bonus.

update: for a recap of all Sept Money 101 posts, click here

Photo Credit: Letterror

Well I didn’t used to put it quite so baldly, but when I read this post Rewrite Your Old Stories and Move On I was reminded of advice I give to clients.

If you aren’t doing well with your money, or if you have an unhealthy relationship with it, you likely picked  a lot of it  up from your family of origin. It’s time to get new parents.

Look around you. Who do you know who has a few years on you, and is doing well for themselves financially?
Adopt them as new role models and seek opportunity to learn from them (or him or her). If you are comfortable enough, start having conversations with them about money. You could ask questions like:

  • What are the top three financial habits you think everyone should have?
  • If you could do one thing differently, what would you do?
  • What do you think makes the difference between people who struggle with money and those who thrive?

Those are reasonably non-threatening questions and if the conversation goes well, you could ask more meaningful or specific questions at a later time.

In addition to asking questions, observe them.  Not creepily, of course!

  • what are the cues to you that they are savvy with money?
  • What about the way they are with money do you aspire to?
  • What are the differences in how they behave with money and how you do?

Readers,  time to chime in!   I’m interested:  What have you learned about money (good things!) from people other than your family?  And what is the best thing about money you learned from your family?

OK – I’ll go first.   From non-bloodline “parents”  I learned how lovely it can be to be gracious with money.   And from my family, I learned the empowerment of creating an income from entrepreneurship instead of a job.   Over to you!

update: for a recap of all Sept Money 101 posts, click here

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